There was an interesting exchange between House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and CNN’s R2DoubleD2 today on the cable new channel’s “State of the Union” program.
Issa’s bluntness was uplifting. The scandal surrounding the IRS’s decision to target Tea Party groups was, he believes, “mostly likely the employees in the Cincinnati IRS offices were acting on orders from Washington, DC.
Issa said, “The administration is still—their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind, he’s still making up things about what happen[ed] and calling this local rogue.” [Emphasis mine.]
“The reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth [Amendment] is not because there’s a rogue in Cincinnati,” he added. “It’s because this is a problem that was coordinated. in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters.”
On May 21, Carney said: “I think that the tenor of the president’s public comments about it, both in his statement Tuesday night and his public comments the next day reflect his feelings upon learning about the apparent conduct by our IRS officials in Cincinnati.” A day earlier, Carney discussed “matters involving the office in Cincinnati” in an exchange about when the White House learned of the episode.
IRS officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. So, the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati, where IRS official Lois Lerner initially said actions were undertaken by “front-line people.”
An IRS employee was asked if the scandal could be the work of a few local rogue agents. "It's impossible," the employee said. "As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports. So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen."
The interrogator then asked: "With respect to the particular scrutiny that was given to Tea Party applications, those directions emanated from Washington, is that right?"
"I believe so," the IRS employee said.